Dissertation >

An Ecocritical Reading of Harry Potter

Author HuoChenJing
Tutor FengMei
School Hebei Normal
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords anthropocentrism ecological holism spiritual ecology
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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The human-centered thinking way not only arouses human excessive desires, but also brings destruction to nature .The degeneration of ecological and survival crisis have become the most serious problems that human beings confront. It is necessary for the way of ecological thinking and understanding to be the universe thinking model, which can help human begin doubting the correctness of traditional anthropocentrism. Ecological holism is such a thinking model against anthropocentrism. Ecological holism takes the ecosystem as a whole and the benefit of the whole ecosystem as the highest values. It emphasizes ecological equality among all beings in the ecosystem and requires the construction of a healthy spiritual ecology.J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has been the favorite of readers since its publishing over ten years ago. It is far more than a children novel. It is also a novel full of the deep allegories of the human condition. It constructs the beautiful scenery of nature, describes the racial discrimination in magic world and exposes the spiritual life of modern human beings. Many experts have read the novel and analyzed it. However, there are few studies reading it from the perspective of ecocriticism. Therefore, more space is left for this thesis to conduct an ecocritical reading of Harry Potter.This thesis can be mainly divided into three chapters. The first chapter analyses the rejection of anthropocentrism implied in the novel. Human lives the most comfortable and convenient life in its history, but human becomes more and more arrogant under the influence of traditional anthropocentrism. The novel satires human destruction to nature and commends those who live harmonious lives with nature. It also criticizes human excessive desires. It is the desires for more material and power other than human vital needs that leads to ecological crisis.The second chapter discusses ecological holism reflected in the novel. The novel advocates the equality between human and nature as well as within the human community. Through emphasizing values of all creatures in nature, including different human races, the novel calls on human to fight against human cruelties towards nature and human dictatorship as well as corruption that pollutes human society. Inequality is a kind of manifestation of anthropocentrism. Therefore, it must be replaced by ecological equality, which is the embodiment of ecological holism.In the third chapter, the concern over spiritual ecology is discussed. The novel describes mainly two groups of wizards. The different groups represent opposite ethical values. The positive characters are the embodiments of true, healthy love and virtues of solidarity and sacrifice while the negative ones lack of them, which actually causes their spiritual crisis. The encouragement of a healthy spiritual world is actually the appeal for the construction of a healthy spiritual ecology.Nowadays, ecological crisis is more striking and even threatening human’s life. Loss of natural scenery, extinction of species, human indifference and swelling desire all make the ecosystem worse and worse. Harry potter criticizes the traditional anthropocentrism through exposing these maladies. However, it also encourages people to be confident through teaching them how to live a happy and harmonious life with nature and other races. These views, which can help human solve ecological and spiritual crisis, are in accordance with what ecocriticism advocates and worth of human practice.

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